Only 13% of Americans Watch As Their President Is Heckled


For those of you who weren't transfixed by the clueless auditioning on last night's So You Think You Can Dance, you might have tuned in for a little thing called President Obama's Health Care speech. Sure, Obama and Vice President Biden did not enter the joint session of Congress with a Mia Michaels choreographed routine set to Chicago's "All That Jazz," but they did have another kind of show stopper: a heckler.

Last night's presidential speech garnered a "combined 13.2 rating in the early metered markets across NBC, ABC and CBS," according to TV by the Numbers. This would mean over a 3% fall in viewership from last July's health care press coverage, which pulled a combined 16.3 rating.

In case you weren't part of the above percentage, watch the clip below as South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson bellows "You lie," in response to the president's claim that health care for all Americans will not result in insuring illegal immigrants. Wilson released an apology later last night: "This evening I let my emotions get the best of me. While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."

Although Wilson's remarks did mark an extraordinary breach of decorum, maybe this will turn around the ratings for future presidential speeches.

· In Lawmaker's Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol[New York Times]


  • Yellow Submarine says:

    Wilson should run for president. He'd get my vote.

  • Lowbrow says:

    I'd bet that if President Obama had promised the American people that Kevin James would be reprising his role of Paul Blart and patrol during the speech on his Segway, our slobbering masses would have made those ratings skyrocket.
    Because health care for all Americans is important, or something.. but how lame would you feel if you couldn't share a laugh in reenacting that Segway-podium collision!

  • VoV says:

    OK, I consider myself a fairly a-political person ... very moderate. But I'm beginning to think that Obama is a plant by the Republicans to turn moderates into Republicans and liberals into moderates ...
    Why do I think this ... because it's working.

  • bess marvin, girl detective says:

    as evidenced by yellow submarine's ridiculous comment...they're baaaaaaaaaack

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Nobody watches this kinda stuff anymore because we all know that the internet will post the best parts the following day.


    Yellow, submarine. Why don't you dive to periscope depth...and stay there. You're clearly mis-informed on the issue. Either that, or, like most conservatives, you choose to participate in endless sessions of "straw man" logic that your political base seems to love to. You tweak and bend the President's words just enough to where they are indeed lies but appear as the truth. You and your entire base are lame and should be ashamed of yourself.

  • John M says:

    I think the very existence of a next-day ratings report for a presidential speech is part of the problem, no?
    The next question: can Obama open? Will there be any falloff Friday to Saturday?

  • Lowbrow says:

    There's only follow-up reporting to inform people about the really important parts of the President's speech: off-topic questions or inappropriate outbursts.

  • stolidog says:

    It's too bad security didn't drag Wilson out by the hair, like they used to do to anti-war protesters when Bush was pretending to be president.

  • stretch65 says:

    Nancy Pelosi's expression was priceless
    Biden is sitting and just drooling

  • mentir says:

    You know, my least favorite part of Defamer was when Gawker would insist on cross-posting political content. Comments tend to be shitty and bereft of wit from both sides of the aisle, so let's give it a break.